May Motivation Monday

It’s been a long term her in Western Australia already and it’s only week 2.

Went to a inspirational Teach Meet last Friday ill tell you more soon, also a post about report writing and how I get by.

But for now a motivational moment, that is quiet fitting for this weeks posts Realteachersknow.jpg

 

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Neutral Natural Nudes

Walking in to any high street store you will find neutral natural colours, they are so warm and inviting with a beautiful sense of calm.  This all comes down to colours and the emotions we acoicate with them, Red is fast, yellow is happiness, orange is joy.

Today I’m sharing some classroom inspiration to develop an idea of Calm in your class.

Photos taken from missreggio, play-basedclassroom and sarahkhoggteachingportfolio 

Calming colours make us all feel more content, meaning we are comfortable and able to take risks. When your classroom is filled with examples of perfect art work and writing and solid colours it can make a child feel they need to be perfect and mass produced. Wood and cotton all come with flaws and differences. It’s what makes them special.

Shop this look 

 

Coding for Girls

Now, equality would say that you shouldn’t target an opportunity by gender, but today I am, because women and girls are far behind in a particular set of skills needed for current and future workplaces. Coding is the language that tells computers and digital devices what to do. I like to think about it as a more complex form of this:

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Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in the Movie the Imitation Game.

While The Imitation Game does talk about code making and breaking it is portrayed as a system of guesswork, your constantly looking for that one string to pull on,  once you find a string to pull on to all comes together.

Back to Karlie, who I alluded to last Tech Tuesday. Karlie Kloss is a model, yep a runway model, she is also a Taylor Swift Girlgang member. She is also a Techie, she vlogs, and instagrams better than most. She helped to run a scholarship programming school, last August.

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This photo comes from the Schools website

21/600 got to go last summer, and I would say more people will apply this year. FYI 14 of the chosen girls had never coded before. Programs like Karlie’s are stepping stones towards improving coding amongst young girls and giving them better skills for the future.

Info about the 2016 Northern Hemisphere Summer can be found at https://precollege.flatironschool.com/cities/new-york/summer/courses

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This is my Fav blog post about the school.

 

General info about the school can be found here:

https://precollege.flatironschool.com/kode-with-karlie

This includes lots of stories about the program, in Video form (I love a video)

 

 

Is Contemporary Teaching a new thing?

 

Contemporary Teaching is all about staying modern and current, a lot of people think it’s something new, but I see it more as an extension of play based learning. It is about designing a classroom that is interactional and play based. Love this article you should all read it.

Article review: An Australian approach to feminism in the UK

I work in a female strong industry where there is a struggle to find men willing to be teachers. In the last two schools I have worked in (one in Aus and One in the Uk) I have had the whole administration team be female. And yet they are making decisions about students who are 50% male. They like I have no experience of being a boy, know experience of being a boy in a school. In this industry sexist behaviour is reversed about some things.  For example it is presumed that man want to move away from the classroom and into admin.

This article got me thinking about my uni days, were the boys doing a education degree were offered a scholarship of sorts to study, purely because they were male. Unfair right? But how about scholarships that offer places for girls only would you or I feel the same.

An Australian approach to feminism in the UK.

Article Review: School starting age: the evidence

The thing I took most from this article was the link to research, history and current international success. and how we ignore all of this. I am not sure why. To me it reminds me of the age old idea that a “test or Exam is the worst way to identify if someone knows something.” and yet universities use them all the time often to assess up to 40% of a unit of work.

I also love the statistic that says that children who start formal literacy education at 4 yrs. old (U.K.) compared with 7 yrs. old (New Zealand) are no better off when they reach the age of 11.

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Worth a read.

School starting age: the evidence

Earlier this month the “Too Much, Too Soon” campaign made headlines with a letter calling for a change to the start age for formal learning in schools. Here, one of the signatories, Cambridge researcher David Whitebread, from the Faculty of Education, explains why children may need more time to develop before their formal education begins in earnest.

 In the interests of children’s academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously

David Whitebread

In England children now start formal schooling, and the formal teaching of literacy and numeracy at the age of four.  A recent letter signed by around 130 early childhood education experts, including myself, published in the Daily Telegraph  (11 Sept 2013) advocated an extension of informal, play-based pre-school provision and a delay to the start of formal ‘schooling’ in England from the current effective start until the age of seven (in line with a number of other European countries who currently have higher levels of academic achievement and child well-being).

This is a brief review of the relevant research evidence which overwhelmingly supports a later start to formal education. This evidence relates to the contribution of playful experiences to children’s development as learners, and the consequences of starting formal learning at the age of four to five years of age

There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies.  Anthropological studies of children’s play in extant hunter-gatherer societies, and evolutionary psychology studies of play in the young of other mammalian species, have identified play as an adaptation which evolved in early human social groups. It enabled humans to become powerful learners and problem-solvers. Neuroscientific studies have shown that playful activity leads to synaptic growth, particularly in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for all the uniquely human higher mental functions.

In my own area of experimental and developmental psychology, studies have also consistently demonstrated the superior learning and motivation arising from playful, as opposed to instructional, approaches to learning in children. Pretence play supports children’s early development of symbolic representational skills, including those of literacy, more powerfully than direct instruction. Physical, constructional and social play supports children in developing their skills of intellectual and emotional ‘self-regulation’, skills which have been shown to be crucial in early learning and development. Perhaps most worrying, a number of studies have documented the loss of play opportunities for children over the second half of the 20th century and demonstrated a clear link with increased indicators of stress and mental health problems.

Within educational research, a number of longitudinal studies have demonstrated superior academic, motivational and well-being outcomes for children who had attended child-initiated, play-based pre-school programmes. One particular study of 3,000 children across England, funded by the Department for Education themselves, showed that an extended period of high quality, play-based pre-school education was of particular advantage to children from disadvantaged households.

Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7. Their results show that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later. In a separate study of reading achievement in 15 year olds across 55 countries, researchers showed that there was no significant association between reading achievement and school entry age.

This body of evidence raises important and serious questions concerning the direction of travel of early childhood education policy currently in England. In the interests of children’s academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously.

– See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/school-starting-age-the-evidence#sthash.Hx5pSBkN.dpuf

http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/school-starting-age-the-evidence

How to save a life….

I’ve come across this story a few times in the last few weeks, it is amazing there are these teachers who go above and beyond every day no one will ever celebrate them until they miss them.

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A few weeks ago, I went into Chase’s class for tutoring.

I’d emailed Chase’s teacher one evening and said, “Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you’re sending home is math – but I’m not sure I believe him. Help, please.” She emailed right back and said, “No problem! I can tutor Chase after school anytime.” And I said, “No, not him. Me. He gets it. Help me.” And that’s how I ended up standing at a chalkboard in an empty fifth grade classroom staring at rows of shapes that Chase’s teacher kept referring to as “numbers.”

I stood a little shakily at the chalkboard while Chase’s teacher sat behind me, perched on her desk, using a soothing voice to try to help me understand the “new way we teach long division.”  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to unlearn much because I never really understood the “old way we taught long division.” It took me a solid hour to complete one problem, but l could tell that Chase’s teacher liked me anyway. She used to work with NASA, so obviously we have a whole lot in common.

Afterwards, we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are the least important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger  community – and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are Kind and Brave above all.

And then she told me this.

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

Who doesn’t even know who to request?

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children – I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those little ones who need a little help – who need adults to step in and TEACH them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts with others. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside of her eyeshot –  and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But as she said – the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.

As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea – I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.

Ever since Columbine, she said.  Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.

Good Lord.

This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. She watched that tragedy KNOWING that children who aren’t being noticed will eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.

And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often, and with the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11 year old hands  – is SAVING LIVES. I am convinced of it. She is saving lives.

And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.

All is love- even math.  Amazing.

Chase’s teacher retires this year –  after decades of saving lives. What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day-  and altering the trajectory of our world.

TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one  is watching-  it’s our best hope.

Teachers- you’ve got a million parents behind you whispering together: “We don’t care about the damn standardized tests. We only care that you teach our children to be Brave and Kind. And we thank you. We thank you for saving lives.”

Love – All of Us

– See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/01/30/share-schools/#sthash.FQupyzG1.dpuf

A little Funny moment

A little Funny moment

As I head off on a weeks holiday, English Spring 1/2 Term, I leave you with this sage piece of advise: bite your tongue.

Post Secret goodness

She or he thinks this is a secret but all teachers and careers know it to be true the reason they are special is because they change you in the special of ways they change you heart’s feelings of the world and you head’s logic of success.

ImageThis picture was taken from Post Secret On 1st of December 2013, for more amazing insights to humanity see http://postsecret.com